Minor Threats

In which musicians do their part in contributing to the climate of fear.

It seems one of the Vercotti brothers has joined the Seattle Symphony. (Via ArtsJournal.) See, my standmate is a little clumsy. It’d be a shame if he were to break something. (I’m happy to see that Seattle is so quiet and peaceful that would-be terrorists can’t find a better cause than Gerard Schwarz. That’s like going after a bakery because their bread isn’t white enough.)

Update (7/22/09): There used to be a link to a story about George Spicka here. However, per this statement from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA):

“The MdTA advises the public that it has no information connecting George F. Spicka with any illegal activity including an alleged event of October 11, 2006, at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport (“BWI”). MdTA sincerely regrets any damage to Mr. Spicka of Baltimore County, Maryland, which may have been caused by any prior MdTA statement or press release inconsistent with this present statement.

We are requesting that after making this posting, any prior information or records in regard to this specific event about George F. Spicka be removed from your web site and/or search results.”

OK. Anybody actually still reading back this far?

Yeah, those airports can be scary places. Good thing the national no-fly list is on top of noted terrorists like Robert Johnson and John Williams. I suppose Robert Johnson’s alleged dealings with the devil might freak out the current administration, but I really don’t think you can hold John Williams responsible for “Stepmom” just because he wrote the music. (My favorite part of the story? They keep the names of actual terrorists off the no-fly list so terrorists won’t find out that they’re on the no-fly list. Our government has been infiltrated by a secret cabal of Oulipians!)

Of course, any activity can be turned to nefarious purposes. From an article in the USAF’s Air University Review, March-April 1972:

[T]here may be uses of music that might have military applications. To cite a rather grim example, certain frequencies can kill. Specifically, a sound wave at 7 Hz (much too low to hear) can penetrate the soft tissues of the body, cause them to vibrate sympathetically, and if it lasts long enough the result can be death. Another example: a 37-Hz tone, roughly D in the bottom octave of a piano keyboard, can crack a wall if it is loud enough. The military implications of these examples need not be mentioned.

Put your hands in the air, and back away from the accordion.


  1. O.K. You win. All we’ve got is keyed cars, razorblades in the mailbox, vandalized instruments, night doorbelling, and e-mail threats.We’re only Seattle after all. We have the only ugly Gehry building.We did give you a nice riot a while ago, but, I know, what have we done for you recently?

  2. My bad—how could I forget the G-8? (To be fair, I had just gotten married.) Should read “has gotten so peaceful and quiet,” etc.By way of comparison, here in Boston, my car’s been keyed three times just for the heck of it, apparently. So at least west coast vandals are more goal-oriented. (I always assume that the e-mail threats are for a different Matthew Guerrieri.)(Actually, I kinda like the EMP building. Not one of his best, but Gehry always tickles my fancy. That’s probably because of the spectacularly awful monolithich architecture of < HREF="http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Boston_City_Hall.html" REL="nofollow">Boston’s City Hall<>—a walk around that, and most avant-garde starts to look positively cheery.)

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